Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Health Perspect. 2016 Nov;124(11):1700-1706. Epub 2016 Jun 3.

Particulate Matter and Subclinical Atherosclerosis: Associations between Different Particle Sizes and Sources with Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in the SAPALDIA Study.

Author information

Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland.



Subclinical atherosclerosis has been associated with long-term exposure to particulate matter (PM), but the relevance of particle size and sources of exposure remains unclear.


We investigated the association of long-term exposure to PM10 (≤ 10 μm), PM2.5 (≤ 2.5 μm: total mass, vehicular, and crustal sources), and ultrafine particles [UFP < 0.1 μm: particle number concentration (PNC) and lung-deposited surface area (LDSA)] with carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT).


We used data from 1,503 participants ≥ 50 years old who participated in the third examination of the Swiss SAPALDIA cohort. Exposures were obtained from dispersion models and land-use regression models. Covariate information, including previous cardiovascular risk factors, was obtained from the second and third SAPALDIA examinations.


The adjusted percent difference in CIMT associated with an exposure contrast between the 10th and 90th percentile was 1.58% (95% CI: -0.30, 3.47%) for PM10, 2.10% (95% CI: 0.04, 4.16%) for PM2.5, 1.67% (95% CI: -0.13, 3.48%) for the vehicular source of PM2.5, -0.58% (95% CI: -3.95, 2.79%) for the crustal source of PM2.5, 2.06% (95% CI: 0.03, 4.10%) for PNC, and 2.32% (95% CI: 0.23, 4.40%) for LDSA. Stronger associations were observed among diabetics, subjects with low-educational level, and those at higher cardiovascular risk.


CIMT was associated with exposure to PM10, PM2.5, and UFP. The PM2.5 source-specific analysis showed a positive association for the vehicular source but not for the crustal source. Although the effects of PNC and LDSA were similar in magnitude, two-pollutant and residual-based models suggested that LDSA may be a better marker for the health relevance of UFP. Citation: Aguilera I, Dratva J, Caviezel S, Burdet L, de Groot E, Ducret-Stich RE, Eeftens M, Keidel D, Meier R, Perez L, Rothe T, Schaffner E, Schmit-Trucksäss A, Tsai MY, Schindler C, Künzli N, Probst-Hensch N. 2016. Particulate matter and subclinical atherosclerosis: associations between different particle sizes and sources with carotid intima-media thickness in the SAPALDIA study. Environ Health Perspect 124:1700-1706;

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center